Front row start for Yacaman at Kansas

Huge team effort puts No. 60 back on track.

Kansas City, Kan. – Michael Shank Racing driver Gustavo Yacaman scored his best qualifying result of the season and will start the SFP Grand Prix at Kansas Speedway from the front row in Saturday night’s GRAND-AM Rolex Series race.

Yacaman posted a fast time of 1:09.950-seconds in the No. 6 Tuvacol/AERO Ford-Riley during Friday night’s 15-minute qualifying session.

#6 Michael Shank Racing Ford / Riley: Justin Wilson, Gustavo Yacaman
#6 Michael Shank Racing Ford / Riley: Justin Wilson, Gustavo Yacaman

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

The SFP Grand Prix marks Michael Shank Racing’s first appearance at the Kansas Speedway “roval” which features six challenging corners through the infield road course as well as a large portion of the banked oval as GRAND-AM stages its debut event at the venue.

The battle for grid spots was once again a ferocious one, with less than one second separating the top-10 cars as Yacaman’s best lap came up just .067-seconds off the pole time. “We definitely had a bit more for the pole,” said Yacaman, who will share the No. 6 Tuvacol/AERO machine with Justin Wilson. “I got caught in some traffic and couldn't make the best out of it. We were pretty lucky to get that last lap in and I'm happy that we did.

Getting on the front row is really special. During the day you see everything, but at night the only thing you see is the track. So I think it brings my focus to one thing much easier than during the day.”

John Pew posted the 10th quickest time of the qualifying session in an impressive comeback from the Michael Shank Racing squad. The No. 60 Ford-Riley sustained significant damage in a practice incident earlier in the day, but the ‘never give up’ attitude of the Shank team was on full display as every member of the team worked throughout the entire day to get the car back to prime condition in time for qualifying.

Not only did the repairs come in a timely manner, they were also thorough as Pew was able to score a top-10 spot for Saturday’s race despite not having turned a single lap in the rebuilt machine before the session started.

"The crew was just fantastic,” said Pew of the determined Michael Shank Racing squad. “They worked every minute from the crash up until it was time to qualify and I have such confidence in the car and their abilities.

Even though I didn't get much practice time, I think I did okay in qualifying and I just keep learning the car and the track and I think my stint will be good tomorrow. The car feels really good and I am confident for the race tomorrow."

Pew will open the race before handing the car over to Ozz Negri who will take the Ford powered Riley to the finish.

“This was the best qualifying ever for Gus (Yacaman) and I am super happy about that,” said team owner Mike Shank. “He was right there for the pole which was great. And then the recovery that John Pew made and all the guys behind him was just a great effort from everybody on the team.

This team really seems to respond well to crisis and I am proud of them for that. They really rose to the challenge. We have had a tough weekend and a tough year so far so I am happy and excited to see what happens tomorrow."

The SFP Grand Prix is set to begin under the Kansas Speedway lights tomorrow night at 8:00 PM (ET). FOX Sports 2 will carry live coverage and will re-air the event Sunday afternoon at 4:00 PM (ET) on FOX Sports 1.

Michael Shank Racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Justin Wilson , John Pew , Michael Shank , Gustavo Yacaman
Teams Michael Shank Racing
Article type Qualifying report
Tags ford-riley, grandam, kansas, michael shank racing, negri, pew, wilson, yacaman